CBS has a new tv show entitled Bull which airs tonight at 9. Apparently, the show is based on the early career of Dr. Phil McGraw. Yes, the same Dr. Phil from Oprah. Here is the write up of the show from CBS.
Brilliant, brash and charming, Dr. Bull is the ultimate puppet master as he combines psychology, human intuition and high tech data to learn what makes jurors, attorneys, witnesses and the accused tick. Bull employs an enviable team of experts at Trial Analysis Corporation to shape successful narratives down to the very last detail. They include his quick-witted former brother-in-law, Benny Colón, a lawyer who acts as defense attorney in the company’s mock trials; Marissa Morgan, a cutting-edge neurolinguistics expert from the Department of Homeland Security; former NYPD detective Danny James, the firm’s tough but relatable investigator; haughty millennial hacker Cable McCrory, who is responsible for gathering cyber intelligence; and Chunk Palmer, a fashion-conscious stylist and former All-American lineman who fine tunes clients’ appearances for trial. In high-stakes trials, Bull’s combination of remarkable insight into human nature, three Ph.D.’s and a top-notch staff creates winning strategies that tip the scales of justice in his clients’ favor.
The New Jersey Law Journal has an interesting article (Allow Convicted Felons to Serve on Juries) examining felons and the reform efforts currently underway around the country to limit the collateral punishments imposed on them. For example, several jurisdictions are allowing felons to vote and banning the box on employment applications. However, it does not appear that there is a big push to allow felons to serve on juries, which is why this article concludes that, like with voting, felons should be allowed to serve on juries. Here are the last two paragraphs of the article.
Voting and jury service are both responsibilities and privileges of citizenship. However, jury service, unlike the right to vote, is permanently curtailed by this statute. This also disproportionately disenfranchises minorities from being called for jury service where the opportunity for excusing potential jurors with a criminal conviction can be placed in the hands of counsel who might, if they feel it necessary, exercise a peremptory challenge during voir dire.
We believe that this restriction on the rights and responsibilities of citizenship should be stricken by the Legislature to bring jury service into harmony with voting law as part of the rehabilitative process afforded to all persons who have served their judicially mandated sentences.
Here is a statement issued by the local Maricopa County Attorney about the jury process in the Jodi Arias sentencing trial. This statement was made in an effort to tone down some of the speculation and rhetoric about the lone juror who voted against the death penalty for Jodi Arias.
It is uncommon for judges to punish a juror. It is really uncommon for judges to punish a juror for talking to the media. It is really, really uncommon for judges to punish a juror for talking to the media after that juror has already been dismissed from the case. However, it does happen as evidenced by the prosecution Marla Lloyd.
Lloyd was a juror in the death penalty trial of Shaw Ford. However, she was dismissed from the case prior to the jury reaching a verdict. Sometime after the verdict but before sentencing Lloyd spoke to the media about the case. Her actions, according to the prosecution, violated the judge's gag order for all jurors. As a result, she is now being prosecuted for contempt of court.
Loyd's prosecution is troubling for a variety of reasons. First, what is the purpose of her prosecution? Put differently, what does the prosecution or judge hope to obtain with a conviction? Second, why isn't this prosecution an infringement on Loyd's 1st Amendment rights? Third, how far can a judge go in restricting others from discussing things that occur in a courtroom? Could a judge tell jurors or prospective jurors that they may never talk about the case? It appears to me that once Lloyd was released from jury duty, the judge no longer had jurisdiction or authority to regulate what she said.